What are the main challenges you face as PSA chairman?
We have three basic challenges for PSA: to return to growth, profitability and innovation. We have made some progress in the last few months.
We are in the final process of merging all the nonmarketing and noncommercial activities of Peugeot and Citroen. We're bringing together the industrial and r&d operations, and we've begun significant negotiations with the unions.
As a result, Automobiles Peugeot and Automobiles Citroen will merge into one single company.
How important is expansion outside western Europe to PSA?
Very important. We sold 84 percent of our cars in Europe last year and only 16 percent elsewhere.
We have been much criticized for this, although when you look at the present crisis in the Asia/Pacific region, it might be an advantage more than a disadvantage.
But I believe we should increase our sales outside western Europe, particularly into central Europe and South America.
Do you have too many plants in Europe?
I consider the overcapacity issue to be nonsense, at least in the way it's usually presented. Nobody knows exactly what the capacity of a plant is except in terms of units per hour.
The situation is very different from one plant to another in Europe. Some plants work three shifts a day six days a week; others work two shifts a day five days a week.
Do you have any thoughts about returning to the U.S. market?
Nobody can forget the importance of the U.S. market. But considering the necessary investment, the United States is not a priority for us today.